The path of the proposed sidewalk. (Google Maps)

Stelly’s sidewalk gets green light

Federal funding brings project to fruition

After years of discussion, pedestrians on Stelly’s Cross Road will have a new sidewalk to use, thanks largely to funding by Indigenous Services Canada.

Tsartlip First Nation and Central Saanich have been in talks with Indigenous Services Canada, the federal department responsible, since the sidewalk will be partly on reserve land.

Central Saanich councillors voted to approve a staff proposal to contribute $100,000 to the $1.6-million project on Monday, June 18.

In the report, staff wrote that since the District will own the sidewalk, the $100,000 investment “provides significant value from a financial perspective, in addition to addressing high priority pedestrian safety concerns.”

RELATED: Central Saanich resident wants more done for pedestrian safety

In an interview, Central Saanich mayor Ryan Windsor said in past reports, a concrete sidewalk was seen as cost-prohibitive, so dirt or gravel was the likelier option. However, he said he was “pleasantly surprised” when the federal government agreed to fund the concrete option.

Windsor said the district did not originally intend to spend money on this project until 2020, but they earmarked $100,000 in this year’s budget just in case they could start whenever external dollars came through.

“When we got the email, we weren’t expecting it,” said Windsor.

“It was a pleasant surprise, put it that way.”

In the past, Central Saanich councillors have considered a variety of options, including applying for provincial funding, but those efforts had not been successful.

According to the staff report, the scope of the project includes a one-kilometre long sidewalk on the north side of Stelly’s Cross Road, between Peden Lane and West Saanich Road.

A new pedestrian-activated crosswalk with flashing lights (similar to the new one in Saanichton Village) will connect the new sidewalk to the existing sidewalk on the south side of Stelly’s Cross Road near West Saanich Road, linking new infrastructure with the existing.

There will be new LED pedestrian lights with underground wiring, and a new underground stormwater system.

At this point, engineering drawings are about 90 per cent complete according to the staff report, and construction is slated to occur between August and December of this year. The District will be responsible for maintaining the sidewalk once it is installed.

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